The observatory was at the edge of town. It was a quiet place because people needing an observatory was fairly rare. However the position was great for looking at the stars and the lights in a small town like this one would make looking at the stars much more pleasant. The place was one of the few draws in the town and it had been build and was owned by Valarie’s father. Valarie helped him out by managing the place.
I knew that most days she could be found here. I knew that he would not be here today but she should be. I had always thought the place was a fairly worthless place. Maybe that had just been my distaste for watching the stars. When me and Valarie had been kids we had always come to this place. I had liked the stars back then, I thought it was fun coming here and watching them with Valarie. Those days were pleasant memories that made the present all the more painful.
The doors were open to the public so I pushed them open and walked in. There was a dinging sound signaling that there was a visitor. I was not far in when I head Valarie call out in the distance, “I’ll be out in a minute!”
The observatory was well taken care of, Valarie did her job well. The last time I had been here was…. Well last reset, this place had special meaning to both me and Valarie so having our final confrontation here was almost inevitable. However if you are only counting time before the first reset it had been years since I had been here.
I took a seat and waited and a few minutes later Valarie pushed open a nearby door and said, “Welcome….” Then she stopped. She stood there and we looked at each other for a long time like we were both waiting for the other to act first.
She eventually took a step backward like she was retreating but I raised my hands showing that they were empty. “I didn’t bring my sword. I said, “Today I just want to talk.”
She turned her head left and right like she was looking around for something. She was nervous and spooked.
Eventually I spoke, “I know what you are thinking. That this isn’t suppose to be happening.”
“What!? That?” She seemed to shrink down even smaller. She was normally a little bit shorter than me but she had this habit of making herself look even smaller in comparison.
“It happened to you too. I can tell. Time has skipped and everything is not happening as you are expecting it to. I know because that is happening to me too.” I tried to remain as quiet and calm as I could. She acted so innocent but behind that mask was a woman who had the potential power to destroy the world. That long sleeved shirt that she wore concealed the markings on her left arm that showed what she really was, the Maiden of Destruction.
It was finally at this time that Valarie seemed to recover her calm, at least some small portion of it. Finally she managed to murmur, “Then you remember too? He didn’t remember so I had thought you didn’t either.”
“It would have been a lot less painful if I didn’t remember.”
Valerie began to gather some of her own courage, “Then your the one interfering, preventing me from getting him help me again.”
I bite back a scathing response because that would not solve anything, even if it would make me feel better. “Whatever you might think I am not the one turning back time, and I can tell it isn’t your either.”
“Your just trying to trick me. You are so desperate to win that you are even trying to change time to succeed.”
I thought it was a bit weird, she obviously remembered the last reset but apparently not the time before that. Only I seemed to remember that time. Was it because she was dead at the end, no that could not be it. I died at the end of the second time. What was it that caused me to remember the first time. Was I even sure that it was the first time, maybe there had been resets before but I did not remember them.
“If that as true then why would I be here. I’m here because I do not know what is caused the reset As much as I hate to admit it preventing the reset from happening again might only be possible with the use of your power.”
Valerie reached up with her right arm and grabbed her left arm. “You are asking me for help?”
“Yes, because you are the only other person who remembers.” I decided I needed to tell her something to make her trust me. “And for me this is not the first reset. I remember it reseting once before. That time I won and you lost however that ending was apparently not meant to be. The next time you won but even that history was lost. I don’t know what the person reseting time wants but it is not mine or your success. It is something else.”
“You think somebody is causing this?”
“I can think of no other explanation.”
“Do you have any idea of who is causing it?”
“No, but I think you are the reason why. This person is trying to do something with your power or make you do it. However I know not what it is that they want. However they are more active this time around. You noticed it didn’t you? The short reset maybe an hour ago.”
She nodded, “Yes, I noticed it.”
“Then you have to understand that something needs to be done.”
She thought for a moment before straightening her back and saying back to me, “No, I will not help you.”
“What?” I muttered in surprise. “You have to. Who knows what might happened if we do not stop the person who is behind the resets.”
“No, you disappear for seven years and then when you return you come threatening my life saying that I will cause the destruction of the world. Then you come here requesting my help but all I see is you continuing to try and stop me. You say we should work together to solve the resets but that will be you controlling me and in the end all I see is you trying to kill me once more.”
I grimaced and stood, finally getting angry at her, “You saw it didn’t you. The things that happened last time because of your ability. Who knows what horror that can caused by those power.”
She looked at me with pity. “And that is exactly why I can not help you. Because the only ending you can see is the one that ends in my death. At long as that is true I can not join you. I appreciate you coming and telling me about what is happening. Goodbye Yiskah.” Then Valarie turned and left the room preventing me from responding to her.
With her gone I gritted my teeth. It was frustrating. I could not blame her for feeling like her did. I could tell her what Master had told me but it would not mean anything to her. I left the observatory and walked away with my eyes tearing again.
I did not want to kill her but there was no other option. The Maiden of Destruction could not be cleansed of her curse. And despite anything that Valarie desired she would not be able to stop her power when it fully awakened. There was only two options, the destruction of the world or Valarie’s death.
My Master and those who came before him and tried everything in their power to find a solution that would not result in the death of the Maiden of Destruction but none such solution existed. The only choice I had was what I would sacrifice, my childhood friend or everybody else. It had been a difficult and painful decision for me but one person should never control the lives of everybody else.
Now with Valarie not willing to help me I had to find the source of the resets myself but I did not have a clue where to begin.
Lyle Clarke had a whole notebook full of route information for The Forbidden Domain. He had played through the game more than a dozen times now but he still wasn’t certain how to get to one of the special endings. The primary problem was that there seemed to be some kind of random seed generated at the beginning of the file which controlled a lot of the behavior of the heroines.
Each time he made a new game there was small variations in their words and actions although the general path still remained the same. This made if very difficult to tell if actions he made early in the game had important changes later in the game. Starlight Studio had put so much work into this project that Lyle was uncertain if how much longer he would take to find the paths he was looking for.
He had been doing more loading recently checking different paths to find more information about people’s reactions. It had been rather difficult. Still the route was beginning to take root in her notebook with false ends being mark off and possible routes being highlighted. I few more tried and he thought he would be able to play through the true Valarie ending where he convinced Yiskah to abandon the world and join them.
After that he would begin the planning for the Yiskah’s true ending.
There was no longer any more pain, I had grown callous the repeating world. They days were happy, and they were sad, but I entered each of them knowing it was ephemeral. How many times had things reset? Ten, twelve? And that wasn’t even counting the smaller resets.
All my happy times and sad times blended together so I had trouble knowing that counted as real anymore. And I had not gotten any closer to finding out the perpetrator of the time resets. I could feel that they were out there but I could find nothing that indicated that they actually existed other then the continued time resets.
Things had become a strange routine. It had reset again this morning and it was fresh dawn where I would meet him again for the first time. I stretched and got out of bed. The house was lonely and if I had to give myself an emotion it was be depressed. No solution presented itself and I was beginning to give up hope that there would ever be one.
The worst part was not the resetting time, it was that the only other person who remembered was not on speaking terms with me. I had previously gotten dressed quickly was there was quite a while before the first meeting so I spent my time making sure everything was done. Getting dressed, having breakfast. It was only at moments like this that I could be relaxed.
I had finished dressing when I walked over to the counter near my table where my phone was charging. Then I felt a bewildering feeling. There was something different. Nothing was ever different in the morning of the first day but this time there was something.
I reached down picked up my phone. There it read, “One new text”. It had never said that any time previously. I swiped open my phone and opened my text messages. There was a message from a number that I did not recognize.
‘To find the answer ask yourself one question. What should I know that I do not know?’ read the text.
I read the text several times trying to descern the meaning. I clicked to call the number but I only got an automated system telling me that the number did not exist. Very strange.